new way of seeingGood morning, friends!  I am sitting here amidst the clutter of what I like to call — we have survived the end of the school year — and we are starting to dig our way out, beginning to get organized once again, while ‘maintaining’ (air quotes if you could see me — because we really just run around by the grace of God day by day and do our very best) our schedule, and I’ve managed to crawl out of my little whole that I’ve been in for the past few days — again, by my Father’s steadfast grace.

Every once in awhile I get dealt a hand of emotions I just can’t deal with in a proper grown up sense.  I get frustrated with myself, mad, irritated, all that good stuff.  I call myself silly, panic, and try to brush it off–but I know myself better.  This is going to suck–yes, suck–and this is going to hurt like hell for awhile.  I call on God, I call on my husband and I pray, pray, and I PRAY.  Occasionally, I text or call a friend begging for some sense of support, clarity, and sanity (you luckies, you — smile ) but I try not to spread my crazy around too broadly — because I know me — and I know it will pass — eventually — hopefully — soon.  I just have to hold on (Wilson Phillips style) — oh yes, and pray some more.

Some people call this depression, some people call this anxiety, some people call this crazy — and those terms may all apply.  Really, I’ll take them — but honestly, I just get super tired of all the nasty, all the mean, and I just want to scream and shout “Be NICE, be KIND, how hard IS this people, oh yes and RESPECT, RESPECT, RESPECT!!! and there’s this beautiful thing called HONESTY and valuing each other!” and when I am blind sided by the mean, so over the mean, so completely and utterly spent by the mean, I just shut down — and I literally do not know if I can do it, show up for it, take it, let it crush me anymore.  No worries, friends.  Not the life aspect of it.  Just the leaving my front door aspect of it.  That’s all.  No biggie, right?  Smile.  I rebound.  I just get stuck awhile.  I have never really enjoyed this aspect of my character, but as I get older, I’m protecting it more.  My husband understood I needed a day to feel, to heal up a little bit, to pray and be supported.  He’d check in with an “are you okay?” every once in awhile — and I love him to heaven and back for it.

I get so frustrated with my heart in these instances and tend to wish these days away.  I know they will get better–and I praise God for the ache–let me rephrase–I ask God to help me praise him for the ache.  The next morning while doing yoga (sisters and brothers, I’m telling you — life changing — God breathing into your soul stuff happens here), the tears fell and God and I had our time — our heart to heart.  He brought memories back that I had completely forgotten and filled this yuck up with the light that was so necessary to me after the situation that depleted it.  He really is our everything, isn’t he?  And in that moment, although I know I will constantly have to  fight to have it (in an awareness sense), he gave me peace…

All of my life I have been a fighter because I have had to be.  A shield and sword kind of girl.  You can’t see them (on a good day), but they are there.  I talk it up big in my head and I talk it up big in my heart–just to get by and just to get through–and in that moment God breathed–lay your weapons down…  Lay ’em down, Ang.  Go ahead.  You can let go.  You can let ME.  And I just started crying. Tears on the mat.  Bawling like a baby in child’s pose…

Because I talk a lot about faith.  And I SO BELIEVE.  Oh my GRACE, I BELIEVE!  But if I really and truly believe, why the hell am I holding all this STUFF?  I mean HOLDING?!?!?!?  And my God, oh He knows friends, it hurts!  Damn, it hurts!  I mean, people, they just plain out freaking suck sometimes.  I LOVE people, a lot.  But sometime, they just really do!  And I am used up in that department.  Like I mean forever.  Roll your eyes, tell me to get over it, get a tough skin and tell me that’s life–but really, I just can’t.  Over it.  I give you my everything, here’s how it works.  You don’t have to like me.  You don’t have to be my friend.  Nope.  Of course not.  But we show one another respect and kindness.  Always.  Respect and kindness.  And I really can not wrap my mind around that fact that people seem to think it is really okay to treat other people like crap, that there is an “I am better than you” attitude so prevalent in our culture, that we teach this to our kids, that we have forgotten we are to have servant’s hearts, that we have forgotten we are the hands and feet of Jesus, and oh me oh my — he stopped me there… (because I really could have gone on forever).

Just worry about yourself.  Lay your weapons down and just take care of yourself.  (The Lord has to feel like he’s talking to a preschooler when he’s speaking to me sometimes.)  It doesn’t really matter what any one else is doing, Ang.  Yup, it can hurt like hell, and that stinks, but YOU have ME.  The rest is null and void.  They are not your concern they are MINE.  You do you.  You keep your heart and your mind on your own business (and that should keep you plenty busy), and I’ll be concerned with the rest.  When those arrows come flying at you–I’ve got you.  I’ll fight your battles, I’ve promised you I will.  You keep being my hands and feet.  I see them.  I see you.  You worry about yourself. 

And literally, it went down, just like that. Bam. Peace. I’ve got to let Him.  I’ve GOT to.  Surrender.  It’s really time.  I don’t have to fight for me anymore.  It’s over.  When I say God’s got this, I BELIEVE God’s got this.

And yet while breathing, and praying, and breathing some more — my mind went to another place and I began to wonder if I was cut out for anything at all, good for anything at all (in a “handling it” sense), beyond–you know– my front door…

And my Father reminded me of this…

I started teaching preschool by accident, or by God, as I like to say.  I went into the interview looking at a teacher associate position and they offered me a teaching position–egads!!!  The Child Development Center simply required a BA to teach and I started my endeavors at Simpson in education so my first few years held hours of education credits.  They didn’t seem to mind I ended up in Psychology and English.  Maybe the summer working in a psychiatric physicality was an added bonus (smile).  I was caught off guard and basically found myself asking for a tour of the center and asked if I could come in and observe for a few days before I gave them my decision (while inside doing some major freaking out).  Fell in love with the place, and said yes.  They had my heart for 12 years.  And, they still do.  I worked with some incredible teachers who didn’t make me feel less than because I didn’t initially know exactly what I was doing–they welcomed me with open arms–and let’s just say–from text book to experience–I learned so much from the teachers, kids, and families and made forever and ever friends.  And God reminded me of one of my very first students my first year…

It’s one thing to study autism in a behavioral sense, and actually come to know it face to face.  Even if you have had experience with the spectrum in some degree, as we were able to at Simpson, it is such a broad spectrum.  So many facets and so many faces.  This was almost twelve years ago, so it wasn’t as “open” of a discussion as it is now.  I’m not sure where to even begin this little story.  It doesn’t have to be long, really.  Cutest little guy.  All blond, blue eyed, and oh so tiny.  Smart as all get out.  He could memorize and “read” a book to you from cover to cover after I read it to him only a handful of times.  Numbers, colors, letters, shapes, had them all down at the age of four.  Done and done.  Loved to play by himself and could–for hours.  But the little guy did not know how to make a friend or be one.  Parallel play was barely doable.  His only interaction with peers was violence and aggression.  And then he became that way with me — which would have been more tolerable if I hadn’t been pregnant with Max.  And the sad thing was, he wanted a friend.  That desire was there — some days.  But most kids didn’t want to play with a kid that got their attention by hurling a dump truck in their face.  He didn’t show emotion at all.  He was neither ever really happy or ever really sad.  And he didn’t want to be cuddled or loved on or sweety this or that — so what was this girl gonna do?

Oh how we fought for this little guy.  He was such a little puzzle.  I could see the agony in Mom and Dad’s eyes when we met.  It went from not believing me at all — ‘nothing is wrong with my kid!’ — to ignoring me for quite some time, to — ‘help!’  We did social stories about three times a day — reading about what we do with our friends in all kinds of settings.  We did emotional flash cards together.  This little man could not read emotional face cues at all.  He could not look at a face and tell me if it was happy or sad, mad or frustrated — but I tell you, but the end he could–and it was one of the happiest days of my life.  As stickers or prizes never really worked for this little guy, what we found he valued, he got more of–and he loved his alone time.  So, he would earn special time all to himself–free of teachers, AEA staff, free of peers–just by himself with his Thomas books.  And by the end of it all, we found out this little love had Asperger’s.

And this all makes it sound so simple–but in all of this was so much hard work, so many tears, and so much joy in all of his triumphs too.  But the one thing God reminded me of was something so huge I had forgotten.  I had written his parents a letter when they moved on and got a few little Thomas stickers to send this little blondie on his way.    I found myself in tears as it was hard to let go.  I had binders and binders full of paperwork on this little boy to take down to the administrative office to file in his records and I was so sad that this was just like — ‘it’.  Somehow, in all of this, he had become a little piece of my heart — and I was worried for him, and hoped for him.  And his mom had this to say to me.  She thanked me for being her son’s “space maker”.  In a world that he didn’t understand and that didn’t understand him, I had given him a safe space to be, and breathe, and just be himself.  And she appreciated that.  And that’s all she said.  They weren’t overly emotional people either.  Of course, I bawled my eyes out.

And it meant a great deal to me then, yes–but looking back at that now–NOW I can truly and more fully appreciate just what she meant!  THAT is what I am here for.  Yes, THAT.  Thank you God for reminding me!  I am a space maker!  For my kids, for my husband, for my friends, for any child in my care — yes THAT!  And if other little things go by the way side–forget about it–so what?–I’m making space, people!–for these awesome people–who need it–to grow, to breathe, to just BE.  For my sons, who aren’t defined by typical “boy” stereotypes.  For friends who have hearts so big they get bruised easily.  For mommies who don’t have support and need someone to give them an extra hand from time to time.  For kids who don’t have and need what ever it is they don’t have.  For my siblings and my momma who have been through hell and back to survive.  And for any other person that needs the space to be.  THAT is what I’m here for.  I am a space maker.  Because this world is a place that is too busy taking up space for itself, too busy running over and taking, too busy consuming and stepping on. Let me clear some room for you to breathe.  Sit down, let me get you a cup of tea (or kool aid), and tell me YOUR story… 

And I don’t need my armor, no sir, and I don’t need to worry about any body else, no ma’am, I just need to be me.  And God will do the rest.  And I’m sure it’ll get mighty loud.  And I’m sure it’ll get mighty messy.  And I’m sure I’ll get mighty hurt.  Yes, I’m sure of that just as sure as I’m sure that God’s got this girl and He’s doing the fighting for me. 

So every so slowly, up from child pose, breathe, and Namaste, my dear ones.  Now, it’s time to get off the mat and go and exist in this beautiful space.  Love you all!  So many blessings!  And may you hold on to peace.  We MUST be such ardent pursuers of it!  And remember this…

“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.  Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people.”  Galatians 6:9-10

 And deep, deep thanks to all of YOU, who are space makers for me — my incredible sisters and brother, my mom (as we are learning to live and love in each other’s precious space), my friends who are my family, my husband (though loud and interrupty, I love you), my amazing children — you are all pieces of this heart that is ever so silly.  My grace how I love you all!



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